Overcoming Sin

There is an interesting verse in Genesis chapter four that we have all read countless times, but today I realized God Himself gave us the key to victory over sin.

Genesis 4:1-10 LSB “Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a man with the help of Yahweh.” 2 And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a cultivator of the ground. 3 So it happened in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part, also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And Yahweh had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is lying at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Then Cain spoke to Abel his brother; and it happened when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then Yahweh said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to Me from the ground.”

In verse seven, God told Cain, “if you do not do well, sin is lying at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain brought God his leftovers, while Abel brought God the first. Instead of recognizing his wrongdoing, Cain let anger rule in his heart. God warned Cain that sin was lying in wait, but he didn’t deal with it, and in verse eight, Cain murdered his brother. If Cain had ruled over the anger in his heart, he never would have gone to the step of murder.

James 1:14-15 outlines the steps from temptation to sin. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully matured, it brings forth death.” (LSB). Lust is not just a sexual thing; lust is a desire. 

When we do not rule over evil desires like God instructed Cain to do, we will be overtaken by sin. To rule over sin means to be a master over it; if we take the thought captive sent won’t have a chance.

1 Corinthians 10:13 LSB “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 LSB “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the tearing down of strongholds, 5 as we tear down speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”

Scripture is clear on how we handle temptation. God told Cain to rule over it, James gave us the steps from the temptation to sin, and in Corinthians, Paul tells us how to overcome it. We can overcome temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He quoted Scripture to the devil; we must do the same. We either give into the flesh or put our flesh under subjection; the choice is ours. Choose victory today!

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